In Maryland, two 6-year-olds are suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns. The parents of a Baltimore 7-year-old boy say he was suspended for nibbling his pastry into the shape of a gun. In South Carolina, a kindergartner is expelled for bringing a toy gun to school.
Those incidents, recounted in media reports across the country, signal a growing sensitivity to potential violence in schools — and how seriously school administrators are reacting.
Critics say it is an overreaction to children who are just kidding. But after shootings like the Newtown, Conn., massacre, school leaders are taking tougher approaches.
Parents and some experts argue that children's innocence should not be taken away by adults who don't take into account age, intent, and the context in which actions take place.